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New IBM PCs, notebooks arrive

IBM announces new consumer PCs and ThinkPad notebooks.

IBM (IBM) today introduced new consumer PCs and ThinkPad notebooks.

The new machines come as IBM tries to rebuild its consumer sales

An Apple server
The new E series models will be the first with a Pentium II
channel. Last year, IBM predicted that consumers would be attracted by cutting-edge, "high-concept" computers and designed its Aptiva machines with an eye toward performance and design. Instead, the sub-$1,000 PC caught consumers' fancy. As a result, IBM's store sales slumped while those of rival Compaq took off.

The new Aptiva desktop model is the first of its E series of consumer PCs to be powered by an Intel Pentium II processor. To date, this series, generally lower-priced than other Aptiva models, has employed processors by rivals Cyrix and Advanced Micro Devices or earlier generation Pentium MMX processors.

The E series has been more widely marketed in Europe than the U.S. Domestically, many of the E series computers have been sold through limited retail agreements. Radio Shack and Office Max, for instance, have sold E series Aptivas that were not available elsewhere.

IBM also introduced two new ThinkPad models developed "specifically for distribution through consumer retail channels," according to the company, as well as a low-cost version of its popular 560 line of ultraportable notebooks that ships with a 12.1-inch dual-scan display and 200-MHz MMX Pentium processor for $2,499.

The ThinkPad 310ED and 385XD are targeted at the low to mid-range notebook markets. The 385XD will come with 233-MHz MMX Pentium, 12.1-inch dual-scan display, and 24X CD-ROM for $2,499. The 385XD comes with a 56-kbps PC card modem and active matrix display for $3,299.

IBM is also running a limited time rebate of $200 on the ThinkPad 310ED. With a 166-MHz MMX Pentium and 12.1-inch dual-scan display, the system is being offered for $1,599.

The new IBM Aptiva E76 desktop PC features a 300-MHz Intel Pentium II processor, 64MB of memory, an 8.0GB hard drive, a CD-ROM drive, and 56-kbps modem for $1,799.